Skip to main content

Full text of "Verdict On India"

See other formats

LOOSE ENDS                                          24$
ufact that a few industries—notably cotton, sfceel, cement, and
paper—have grown rapidly in the last twenty years, but all the
heavy industries—automobiles, shipbuilding, locomotives, and
armaments, to say nothing of chemicals—have remained in a
state of stagnation. Attempts to establish an Indian chemical
industry, such as the ill-fated Morarjee scheme, have been
destroyed by British efforts, vdth more than a suspicion of Govern-
ment connivance. The infant Indian match factories were
squashed in the interest of ostensibly Swedish but really British
factories. It is the same story with cement, and, of course, with
automobiles, over which some Anglo-American friction has been
caused by our reluctance to allow American firms to establish
Indian branches.
The British apologist may talk of a 'new spirit' and quote
statistics to prove that India is making giant strides in industry.
The 'strides' are illusory and the cnew spirit* is eyewash. For
instance, a great deal of press publicity has been given to 'the
Bevin boys'—the batches of Indian youths who have been sent
^ver to Britain, under government auspices during the war, to be
trained in British industrial methods (the first batch left India
early in 1941). It sounds grand, and in theory it is. But how many
Bevin boys are going ? On an average, 50 every three months.
So that if the war goes on till 1946, and if the flow continues un-
interrupted, Britain will have given training to a thousand of
India's youth—a whole thousand out of 400 million I If that is
a 'new spirit* it does not suggest itself as strong enough to go to
anybody's head. Reluctantly, we are obliged to admit the justice
of Congress's complaint, which is proved by the conclusive fact
that after 150 years of rule by the world's most highly industrial-
ized power, only 4.4 per cent of the Indian people are themselves
industrially employed.1
*In justice to Britain, however, it should be noted that Indian capitalists have
consistently shown a strange reluctance to invest money in their own country,
particularly in any transaction which has an element of risk. The railways are a case
in point; in bpite of every effort to collect Indian capital 92 per cent of the money
had to be found in London. To-day, as the result of progressive 'Indianization/
Jp per cent of the capital of new companies must be in Indian control. If, on
*>poiint of the reluctance of the Indian investor, the remainder of the capital is of
necessity provided by the British, and if the company happens to be a success,
there are loud protests about 'British Exploitation' from aD the Indian capitalists
vho had turned down the opportunity to 'come in on the ground floor.*